The Moroccan National Human Rights Council (CNDH), a public institution for the protection and defence of human rights and freedoms in Morocco, has released a thematic report on the situation of migrants and refugees. Without contesting the right of Moroccan authorities to control the entry and stay of foreigners, the CNDH calls “for a radically new asylum and migration policy”.

In particular, the CNDH invites the Moroccan government to recognize, pending the introduction of national legislation on asylum, refugee status as issued by UNHCR. CNDH recommends that Morocco issue a residency document to statutory refugees, establish a policy on integration of refugees and their families, facilitate family reunification for refugees, ensure compliance with the principle of non – refoulement, give potential asylum seekers arriving in Morocco the right to lodge an asylum application and facilitate UNHCR’s access to asylum seekers across the country. The CNDH is pleased that some international donors have expressed their willingness to financially support efforts to integrate refugees.

The Human Rights Council also believes that the Moroccan government should consider regularizing some categories of migrants in irregular administrative situations, according to criteria including the duration of stay in Morocco and the right to family co-residence. King Mohammed VI, the Head of Government and several ministers and senior officials have responded by creating an inter-ministerial commission to define a framework to examine the legal situation of some categories of foreigners who are in an irregular administrative situation, on case by case basis.

CNDH urges the EU and other international actors to mobilize resources to support the implementation of a genuine policy of inclusion of regularized migrants. CNDH believes that this dimension should be included as one of the priorities of the recently signed EU-Morocco Mobility Partnership.

According to a recent report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), through a combination of political pressure and financial assistance, the EU has effectively outsourced much of its border management to Morocco. “Europe has been able to transfer much of the burden of its border management to Morocco, an arrangement that even allows European countries to deport illegal sub-Saharan migrants to North Africa, rather than to their countries of origin”, the report underlines.

The BBC and The Guardian have recently reported on the human rights violations of undocumented migrants trying to reach European soil, including violence and mistreatment, and pushbacks.

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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 13 September 2013.

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